Lasers are an integral part of the technology we depend on every day and their widespread use continue to evolve. But what are lasers really used for?

1. Welding and cutting.

Some lasers can deliver thousands of Watts of power, these high powered laser beams can be used for welding and cutting almost any material! High powered lasers are often used in the automotive industry.

Laser welding

2. Lasers in communication

Ever wondered how data is carried across the Internet to billions of people around the world? Internet data can be considered to be made up a series of 1’s (ON) and 0’s (OFF) which are can be thought of as switching a laser beam on and off. These 1’s and 0’s from the laser is carried through fibre optic cables at close to the speed of light 299,792,458 metres per second.

Laser communication

3. Barcode scanners

If you have been shopping you most likely have noticed the scanners used in supermarkets to identify the products and their prices. A laser beam is focused onto a barcode and the light reflected back is read by a light detector. Typical barcodes are made up of a series of black and white lines, the different thickness of these lines determine the value read by the scanner.

Laser scanner

4. In the medical field

Lasers are widely used in laser eye surgery procedures to correct eye conditions such as cataracts, short and long-sightedness. Procedures are carried out by using a laser to cut and alter specific areas of the eye.

Laser medical field

5. Entertainment

Lasers are widely used in the entertainment industry to create images, patterns and designs at laser shows and at music festivals. Also, DVD players and Blue Ray players use lasers to read information off disks.

Laser for entertainment

By Victoria Kasamba Ngeyaabwe